TWO Gold Coast Titans undertaking Griffith University scholarships will join a community walk on Sunday aimed at raising a positive image about men in society.
Hundreds are expected at the MR (mister) Walk which represents the start of a campaign to help raise the profile of the importance of the transition of boys to men and the current social perception of men in the community.
The campaign centrepiece is Sunday’s 2.2 km walk to be held at Robina on the Gold Coast as part of the All Stars rugby league festival of events. (The All Stars game is played Saturday night).
Titans Youth players Hymel Hunt and Zach Friend will be among those making the walk around Robina which starts and finishes outside Skilled Park, home of the Titans. Hunt and Friend are also Griffith students undertaking their studies as part of a scholarship program between the Gold Coast NRL club and the university, which is a major sponsor of the Titans National Youth Competition team.
The MR Walk is a concept initiated by Gold Coast Councillor Bob La Castra, following a question asked of him and three other men, who were randomly selected from the audience of a seminar titled ‘From Boys to Men’.
The question asked by the moderator was — ‘can you tell me one thing that’s good about being a man’?
“Not one of us could think of an answer. We all stood there with blank looks on our faces. It’s one of the few times I’ve been lost for words but I was told that this is a normal response,” says Cr La Castra.
From that point, and after hearing more from the same presenter, Cr La Castra decided he need to do more to alter the general perception of men.
So he decided to organise an event — MR Walk — and approached Jetstar Gold Coast Titans managing director, Michael Searle, (pictured) who took the concept to the NRL and organised for his events team to manage the walk.
“The MR Walk is a great concept and we’re proud to have the Titans supporting it. The NRL has also seen merit in it and have sanctioned the event on the official NRL All Stars program,” said Mr Searle.
Simon Santosha, who is the senior practitioner for the Men & Family Relationships Program at Centacare on Gold Coast, believes that children’s, particularly boys’ perception of men is too negative and needs to change.
“The images they get are mostly from video games, TV or the news — much of which are negative – so they don’t learn what it’s like to be a man in the real world,” Mr Santosha said.
“These negative stories of men have a strong influence on our community attitudes and values and more importantly shaping the views of our boys and young men.”
Cr La Castra said the MR Walk showed there was a strong nucleus of people with a passionate interest in playing a role to help bring about positive change in the public perception of the social image of men.
“This groundswell of support has only really been generated in the past week so with time on our side we can achieve a lot in this space,” he said.
The 2.2km MR Walk will start and finish on Stadium Drive, outside of Skilled Park at Robina. The walk will start at 8:30am on Sunday February 5. Registration is free. To register simply go to http://www.titans.com.au and click on the MR Walk logo.